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Company showcases contribution to positive disruption

A man holding a remote detonator for an explosive set at a mine

EXPLOSIVE TOPIC according to AECI the concept of positive disruption clearly speaks volumes to the explosives in mining sector

26th January 2024

By: Halima Frost

Senior Writer

     

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Explosives and mining chemicals company AECI Mining will attend this years’ Investing in African Mining Indaba to showcase some of its new technologies and innovations aimed at unlocking value in the mining industry.

“As a global organisation, we aspire to embark on partnerships with our clients wherein we establish their unique needs,” says AECI Mining Southern Africa explosives executive Meagan van den Berg.

“The Indaba is the ideal opportunity for the company to engage with our various stakeholders and gain insights into existing challenges and future opportunities, which is used to guide our research and development (R&D) focus,” she says.

Through its capable R&D team, AECI Mining continuously develops blasting and mining chemicals technologies that promote safety, operational efficiency and sustainability within the mining sector.

Explosives, by nature, are destructive, but they serve an instrumental purpose by offering a safe, efficient and cost-effective means of rock breaking, which, in turn, is a critical enabler of the mining value chain, says Van den Berg.

“This means that any significant shifts in the explosives industry can cause a ripple effect in the mining sector, and vice versa,” she adds.

From the discovery of minerals in South Africa, to the current state of mining activities in the country, explosives have evolved “drastically and positively”, states Van den Berg.

“Our products are researched and developed to ensure, first and foremost, safe application, handling, transportation and storage in order to safeguard the end-users and the communities in which we operate,” she states.

“AECI Mining has been at the forefront of developing sustainable blasting through science and digital technologies that provide enhanced safety, predictable blast outcomes and reduced carbon emissions,” says AECI Mining global portfolio and technical support services group GM Hendrik Botha.

This has led to disruptive discoveries that have long-term benefits in the industry.

“A case in point is the establishment of manufacturing plants at several of our sites internationally that produce ecofriendly bulk emulsion using recycled oil,” he says.

Since introducing used oils in its various ecofriendly bulk emulsion formulations, AECI Mining has recycled more than 80-million litres of used oil.

This initiative has prevented about 55 000 t of carbon dioxide emissions being released into the atmosphere, which can be equated to planting about 100-million trees.

Botha says the initiative has also provided job opportunities, internationally.

Technology in Detail

During the Investing in African Mining Indaba, AECI Mining will showcase the recently launched CyberDet 1 system – a wireless electronic detonation delivery system that Botha says takes “digitalisation to the next level”.

Unlike traditional wired systems, CyberDet 1 communicates through the rock strata and mitigates the risk of misfires as a result of damaged “down-lines” – representing a significant milestone for blasting innovation, according to AECI.

Communication is carried out using through-the-earth technology, where magnetic transmissions permeate through the rock, transmitting at ultralow frequencies, according to AECI Mining.

In addition to the mitigation of “down-line” cutoffs, Botha says CyberDet 1 will simplify the blast preparation process and significantly reduce the overall on-bench time, thereby enhancing the overall mining cycle.

A unique capability of the system is that integration is possible between the new wireless, and existing wired, electronics offerings, enabling customisation and flexibility for unique blasting applications.

“Blast holes can be preloaded and sleep for up to 30 days, dependent on mine standards and local legislation,” he says, adding that larger blast requirements can be achieved at the same time with reduced interruption to the mining operation itself.

Electronic detonators, such as the IntelliShot system, offer blast efficiencies, enhanced safety and higher levels of blast activity recording to assist with blast data reconciliation and troubleshooting.

“These aspects have a significant impact on safety, profitability and sustainability, and will be showcased at this year’s event,” says Botha.

In addition, AECI notes that these aspects form part of the intrinsic values and vision of the company to ensure it is an organisation which is innovative, safety conscious, and positions it as a business which promotes sustainability through relationships, collaboration and diverse products for the customer.

Edited by Donna Slater
Features Deputy Editor and Chief Photographer

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